Talent Leaders Agree: This One Metric Is the Biggest Challenge Facing Recruiters Today

November 9, 2015

I’ve got a paradox to share with you.

Almost invariably, when we poll talent and business leaders and ask them the statistic they care most about regarding their recruiting teams, they say the same thing: Quality-of-hire.

It makes sense. Ultimately, what helps companies succeed is not how fast recruiting teams can bring people in or even how much they spend bringing people in, but how good that new talent is coming through the door. The better the people, the better the overall business.

And yet, when we poll recruiting teams, we find quality-of-hire is the statistic they have the most trouble measuring. Most teams know their average time-to-hire to the day and their cost-to-hire to the dollar, but they don’t really have great metrics around how good that talent actually is.

Again, it makes sense, because there are a lot of variables to “quality of hire.” Was the person a good hire, but mismanaged? Was the person a great hire, but had something change in their personal life that affected their professional life? Was it more of an onboarding problem, as opposed to a bad hire itself?

The questions go on and on. And yet, the paradox remains, as talent acquisition teams continue to struggle to measure the most important statistic in recruiting.

A deep dive into the numbers

Recently, we surveyed more than 4,000 talent acquisition leaders throughout the world and asked them what is the single most valuable metric they look at to track their recruiting team’s performance. The runaway winner was quality-of-hire:

  • quality of hire

And yet, we asked that same group how well they thought their organization did with measuring quality of hire. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they were not confident with how they were currently measuring quality-of-hire:

  • quality of hire

So how are organizations measuring of quality-of-hire today? Mostly, they use new hire evaluations or retention:

  • quality of hire

What’s worth noting here is that although that’s whats being done today, it’s clearly not working. After all, only one-third of organizations are happy with the way their measuring quality-of-hire, and therefore the majority are searching for a new way to measure how good of a job they’re doing measuring quality-of-hire.

Some possible solutions for measuring quality-of-hire

At Talent Connect Anaheim, we put together a panel of three prominent talent acquisition leaders and asked them how they measured quality-of-hire. While the panel agreed there was “no secret sauce,” three interesting ideas emerged.

They were:

  1. Rajeev Mendiratta, the Head of Workforce Management and Overseas Operations at Wipro Technologies, mostly hires consultants who work in IT at other companies. That allows him to measure quality-of-hire with one simple question: Is the new hire loved by his or her clients? If multiple clients are fighting over the new person, then Mendiratta knows it’s a good hire. If not, then he knows the quality-of-hire isn’t where it should be.
  2. Melissa Thompson, the Executive Director of Talent Acquisition at Citrix, has begun surveying hiring managers two weeks after a person is hired and asking them if they would hire that person again. Using a net promoter score to measure it, Thompson can start to get hard metrics around which recruiters are helping make great hires, and which ones aren’t.
  3. AXA Global Resourcing and Employer Brand Manager Hannah West said she primarily uses retention after one year to measure quality-of-hire, although admitted she was still looking for a better system. No matter what it is though, West said the key would be finding one metric that is both useful and available “at the click of a button."

The quality-of-hire challenge facing recruiters

The challenge of measuring quality-of-hire is something talent acquisition teams have been wrestling with for decades. Everyone in the industry understands the importance of measuring it, and yet no one has been able to crack the code.

That allows a great opportunity for talent acquisition teams across the world to innovate. Because there is no one perfect way, it allows you to try different things – including the few ideas listed – and see what works best for your organization.

Ultimately, they’ll probably never be one perfect metric that encompasses whether a person is a good hire or not, because there are just too many variables. But certainty you can do better than what's being done today, and get a statistic that (mostly) determines how well your team is doing at bringing in top talent. 

* Image from Toni Blay

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